Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, April 21st, 2024
the Fourth Sunday after Easter
Attention!
StudyLight.org has pledged to help build churches in Uganda. Help us with that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Encyclopedias
Dust

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Search for…
or
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z
Prev Entry
Dure
Next Entry
Duty
Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

dust ( עפר , ‛āphār ; κονιορτός , koniortós , χοῦς , choús ): Small particles of earth. The word has several figurative and symbolic meanings: (1) Dust being the material out of which God is said to have formed man ( Genesis 2:7 ), it became a symbol of man's frailty (Psalm 103:14 , "For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust"; compare Genesis 18:27; Job 4:19 , etc.), and of his mortality (Genesis 3:19 , Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return"; compare Job 34:15; Psalm 104:29; Ecclesiastes 3:20; Ecclesiastes 12:7 , etc.) Hence, it is used figuratively for the grave ( Psalm 22:15 , Psalm 22:29; Psalm 30:9; Daniel 12:2 ). (2) Such actions as to lie in the dust, to lick the dust, to sprinkle dust on the head, are symbols expressive of deep humiliation, abasement or lamentation (e.g. Job 2:12; Job 42:6 , Psalm 72:9; Isaiah 2:10; Isaiah 47:1; Isaiah 49:23; Lamentations 2:10; Lamentations 3:29; Ezekiel 27:30; Micah 7:17; Revelation 18:19 ). Hence, such expressions as "He raiseth up the poor out of the dust," i.e. out of their state of lowliness (1 Samuel 2:8; Psalm 113:7 ). (3) Throwing dust was an act expressive of execration. Thus, Shimei "cursed" David and "threw stones at him, and cast dust," literally, "dusted (him) with dust" (2 Samuel 16:13 ). So the crowd which Paul addressed at Jerusalem manifested their wrath against him by tossing about their garments and casting dust into the air (Acts 22:23 ). (4) Shaking the dust off one's feet against anyone (Matthew 10:14; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5; Luke 10:11; Acts 13:51 ) is symbolic of renunciation, as we would say "washing one's hands of him," an intimation that all further intercourse was at an end. It was practiced by the Pharisees on passing from Gentile to Jewish soil, it being a rabbinical doctrine that the dust of a heathen land defiles. (5) It is also used figuratively for an innumerable multitude (e.g. Genesis 13:16; Genesis 28:14; Job 27:16; Psalm 78:27 ). (6) The expression "Yahweh will make the rain of thy land powder and dust" (Deuteronomy 28:24 ) means the dust in consequence of the drought shall fall down instead of rain on the dry ground. In Judea and vicinity during a sirocco, the air becomes filled with sand and dust, which are blown down by the wind with great violence.

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Dust'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​isb/​d/dust.html. 1915.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile